Sleep has a huge impact on your health in many aspects. All the restorative functions of your brain and other parts of the body are carried out during sleep. Sleep affects most of the things in your life i.e your mood, behavior, productivity, immunity, weight, heart and brain health, and so on. That’s why you must get good quality sleep for enough hours each night.
Being sleep deprived can lower your immunity, swing your mood and behavior, decrease your productivity at work, and so on. How the most your day goes, depends a lot on how well you slept last night. If you keep staring at the ceiling most of your bedtime and if you are still feeling tired after a whole night of sleep and keep feeling lazy and lethargic the whole of your day, most probably you need to change your sleeping habits.
In this article, we will look at the top 7 tips to improve your sleep quality that will transform your life to a whole new level. But before that, we need to understand some concepts as:
What is a Good Quality Sleep
Subjective Meaning of Sleep Quality
In a research conducted by Allison G. and others, after asking to two groups of people with and without insomnia each, for what they think is poor quality sleep, they proposed as “Subjective meaning of sleep quality is that how much rested and restored you feel when you wake up or are you feeling tiredness on waking up, and how many times a night you get awaken from sleep”
Indicators of Sleep Quality
According to a report published by the Sleep Health, Following indicators of sleep quality were identified as
- Being asleep more than 85% of the time you stay in bed
- Falling asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed
- Not waking up more than once a night, and
- Being awake for 20 mini or less after initially falling asleep.
Quantity of Sleep Needed
On average, you need 6-9 hours of sleep per day. Adults being young may need somewhat less than 6 hours and some adults may also need up to 11 hours of sleep to get their energy and restfulness restored back.
Excessive sleep more than 12 hours a day surely has bad effects on your body and leads to fatal diseases as indicated by the research published by the National Sleep Foundation.
Role of Melatonin in Sleep
Melatonin, a hormone and a neurochemical, is secreted by Pineal Gland located in the center of the brain. Melatonin helps regulate the Circadian Rhythm of the body and also regulates reproductive hormones. Melatonin is also regarded as ‘third eye’ as its amounts in body translate to difference between times of the day and night.
When eyes are in dark, they send the brain a signal to increase the amount of Melatonin release via the Pineal gland. Boosts the amounts of melatonin in the blood informs the body that it is time to sleep now.
When eyes face bright sunlight or any other light (Blue light from LED screens), send a signal to the brain to decrease the amount of melatonin released via the Pineal gland. Due to decreased amounts of melatonin in blood, the sleep-inducing effect is removed and you feel awake and active.
Tips to Improve Sleep Quality
First of all, write some introduction to sleep and sleeplessness. Engage to the reader by asking if he/she keeps staring at the ceiling during most of his/her night. Then say that even if you get some sleep at night but when you wake up in the morning you still feel tired.
These are some tips and tricks that may help you get some good quality sleep and feel rested and restored when you wake up the next morning.
1. Get in Synchrony with Your Body’s Circadian Rhythm
- Go to, and get out of, bed at the same time every day. This helps your body follow his natural sleep-wake cycle and improves the quality of sleep you get. Getting the same amount of sleep at different times disturbs your Circadian Rhythm thus declining your sleep quality.
- Don’t take naps in the afternoon or evening. Taking naps in the afternoon or evening can make you unable to sleep at night making you fall asleep late and the whole of your routine is disturbed the next morning. If you have to take a nap at all, take it somewhat earlier.
- Don’t go extra sleep hours on weekend mornings. Most people keep sleeping in on weekend mornings and this disturbs their sleep-wake cycle leading to poor sleep quality for the next few days and so on.
2. Get Yourself Some Sunlight Exposure
- Say Hello to the Sun when You Wake up. Sitting in the sun in the morning lowers your melatonin and lets you feel active and more energetic. It also elevates your mood. You may have your breakfast in the open sky in bright sunlight.
- Spend Some of Your daytime Outside in Open. You can go outside in lunch break etc.
- Manage a Wide-open Sunlight Entry to your workspace. You may keep your work desk near a window to face some bright light during the whole of your day.
3. Minimize Your Light Exposure at Night
- No screen usage within 2 hours of bedtime. Using LED Screen devices i.e mobiles, tablets, laptops, etc increase your melatonin production. This makes your body think that it’s still daytime and puts you in difficulty getting asleep.
- No TV before Bedtime. Additional to the melatonin effect of light emitted by the TV screen, watching TV programs before bedtime makes you excited and active and more conscious.
- Keep your room dark when sleeping. This lets your body think that it is night and time to sleep has reached.
4. Exercise Regularly, But at the Right Time of the Day
Studies have shown that exercising on a regular basis has a direct positive effect on the quality of sleep you get. More vigorous exercises you do, the better you sleep at night. Even as light as ten minutes walks daily can help improve your sleep quality.
The best time to exercise is in the morning as it not only helps improve sleep quality but also keeps you more rested, restored, and active, and energetic after you wake up and during the whole of your day. This also increases your productivity.
But don’t exercise at night or before bedtime. Exercise increases the metabolism of your body and releases cortisol which keeps you more active and energetic at night and of course, that’s not what you want at night.
5. Don’t take Coffee, Alcohol, or Cigarette in Hours Before Bedtime
- No Caffeine, as it is the major component of coffee, increases your alertness. Do a Search and write here how caffeine increases alertness in the body. But this may also cause you not to sleep at night.
- No Alcohol, because it first makes you fall asleep, but later at night disturbs your sleep makes your sleep uncomfortable thus lowering your quality of sleep.
- No Cigarette smoking because it contains chemicals that activate your ANS and keep you in an active and alert state. This inhibits you from falling asleep.
6. Improve Your Sleeping Environment
- Keep your bedroom dark when sleeping. When it is time to sleep, turn off all the lights of your bedroom. This gives your brain a message to activate sleep-inducing mechanisms.
- Keep your bedroom cool. Keep the temperature of your bedroom slightly cool i.e at 18°C, you sleep at your best. Sleeping in either too hot or too cold setting badly affects the quality of your sleep.
- Keep your bedroom noise-free. If your surroundings are noisy, you can use a fan or a noise masking machine to sleep in a quiet environment.
- Make your bed comfortable. If your neck or backaches in the morning after you wake up, think of getting a more comfortable bed. Maybe changing your mattress or pillows can help. Maybe elevating the head side of your bed a little bit can make you sleep better.
- Don’t take any work and stress to your bedroom. The bedroom is not the place to sit and do your office work. You should never carry any work in your bedroom.
- Go to bed for two purposes only: Sleeping and Having Sex with your partner. The highlight says it all.
7. Stress Relaxation
Keeping yourself stress-free during the time you are awake determines the quality of sleep during the night. It is stress which makes you keep thinking about the problematic issues in your life and keeps you deprived of sleeping well.
Here are some ways to feel stress-free:
- Try resolving all your disputes with your spouse, friends, and family.
- Spare more time to spend with those you love being with and with those who love you.
- Do some meditation daily.
- Make time for hobbies, interests, and the things you love doing.
- Learn to say No to Procrastination.
- Do some Romance daily and have Sex frequently.
- Give yourself more mental and physical rest.
- Go on a vacation to beautiful landscapes and try getting in touch with nature.
- Self-reflection is the best tool for stress relaxation.
- Make an appointment with a psychologist if needed.